Six Nations Solidarity
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Xinhua - English version
May 23, 2006 06:38:17
[SISIS note: The following news article is provided for reference only. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]
OTTAWA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Tensions escalated again at the site of an aboriginal protest in Southern Ontario, Canada, after clashes between native and non-native locals erupted into violence on Monday.
Ontario Provincial Police officers separated the two sides Monday afternoon, lining up in a pair of columns to keep them apart on Highway 6, the main road running through Caledonia, a small town very close to the Six Nations reserve.
Earlier, a number of native, non-native demonstrators and police officers were injured in scuffles as two large backhoes dug up a section of road in front of the native blockade.
Tempers reached the boiling point just a few hours after what had seemed to be a breakthrough in a five-week standoff over the construction of a subdivision on land the aboriginal protesters claim is their land.
Barricades that the Six Nations protesters had erected on April 20 on Highway 6 came down early Monday as a Victoria Day gesture of goodwill to help with talks to end the dispute.
However, traffic was still being impeded because several dozen non-aboriginal protesters had set up a human barricade of their own.
That led to a scuffle between native and non-native demonstrators. Six Nations members then rushed to set up a new barrier.
The non-native blockade began Friday night, as part of a weekly demonstration by members of the community frustrated about the barricade that has been in place for almost five weeks.
At one point, shouting, pushing and shoving broke out as a vehicle tried to get through the new barricade. Some people from the opposing sides traded punches, and each side accused the other of using racial slurs.
The Six Nations community claims the land on which the subdivision was being built was never signed away by their ancestors, but was illegally taken from them 200 years ago.
Former Ontario premier David Peterson, who was appointed at the end of April to help resolve the standoff, arrived at the scene late Monday. He appealed for calm, saying he hoped cooler heads would prevail and that demonstrators from both sides would go home.
Peterson has said it was crucial that the Caledonia dispute be ended responsibly because it was being watched by native groups across North America.
Editor: Luan Shanglin